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30th March 2017 – Uphill and Sand Bay

The whole purpose of this blog is to show that it’s not always as easy as you would hope.

I went to Uphill to look for the Short-eared Owl that I had seen earlier in the month with two other keen birders. 3 pairs of eyes and we were bound to get some good sightings. As it turned out we saw nothing of note and the little I did see I managed only poor shots.

After Uphill we went on to Sand Bay in the hope of seeing a Dartford Warbler. No success.

Even the Goldfinch photos I thought I had captured successfully (and joked about) were marred by branches covering the bill.

Only a few Dunnocks, a Wren and a House Sparrow for a morning’s work.

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Work? Oh no it wasn’t, just a lovely morning out with a couple of chaps with the same interest. I must say it wasn’t a successful birding trip but great fun all the same.

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28th March 2017 – Chew Valley & Blagdon

Although there was bright sunshine as I drove through Bristol as soon as I arrived in the Chew Valley it was misty and murky and rather mystical.

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At Herons Green I saw a flock 30 or more Sand Martin chasing the masses of flies but they soon disappeared. There were plenty of  Tufted Ducks, Pied Wagtail and Chaffinch and a few distant Great Crested Grebe but not much else.

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From Moreton hide I could see Golden Eye, Shelduck  and some very distant Scaup.

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At Herriotts Bridge there were some more Golden Eye amongst the Tufted Ducks.

The sun was coming through at Blagdon Lake but all I could see were Coots close up and two Buzzards overhead.

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26th March 2017 – RSPB Ham Wall

Great to hear the Bitterns booming at RSPB Ham Wall and even better to get such a great view of a Bittern.

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There was a chill wind when we arrived but with the warmth of the sun it soon dissipated enough for us to have our picnic al fresco.

There was an early sighting of a Glossy Ibis, a good view of Little Grebe and then Great Crested Grebe courting.

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When we reached the Avalon hide there was lots of action with a Marsh Harrier going up and immediately followed by the most amazing views of a Bittern.

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14th March 2017 – Chew Valley Lake

Very blustery and quite dull at Chew Valley Lake today. The best was seeing Goldeneye displaying by throwing their heads right back. FP5A9763

Great Crested Grebe are looking attractive as they come in to breeding plumage.

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Lots of Tufted Ducks and all sorts of Gulls (which I need to get to grips with). The Mute Swans all seem very active, as were all the birds when the Buzzard flew over (but they all seemed oblivious to the drone).

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Great fun talking to all the enthusiastic (and very knowledgeable) birders.

 

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12th March 2017 – Uphill

We went to Uphill to look for a Short-eared Owl which has been reported there in the last few weeks. Initially we had no luck and so I started taking some poor photos of Redshank. However, we could see the rain coming in so we headed back to the car.

At the last moment we caught sight of the Short-eared Owl and, with the help of Lightroom, I rescued a few half-decent shots from the gloom.

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Click gallery below for more photos:

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10th March 2017 – New Passage

At first there didn’t seem to be a lot about (or as the tide was low not close enough for me to see) so I walked through to Aust. It was surprisingly mild and, although I didn’t take many photos, it was a good walk. The best birds were probably the Kestrel near Aust and the House Sparrows (male and female – I think) right at the end. Not sure what the first bird was as it was very dark but now looks like a Dunnock. A charm of 20 Goldfinch in one tree near the end.

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8th March 2017 – Snuff Mills

It was supposed to be heavy rain but the sun was shining so we went for a walk through Snuff Mills (expecting the worse). As it turned out we got the whole way round without a drop of rain.

We regularly saw 2 Grey Wagtails all along the valley. Perhaps there were more but I couldn’t be sure. There were lots of Robins too but only 1 decent shot. Several Great Tits too.

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Near the Halfpenny Bridge we saw a Dipper which was joined by the 2 Grey Wagtails.

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Further up we had great views of 2 Jays. There were reports of 3 Kingfishers in a bush but we only saw one (with a fish) on a branch from a distance but got several views of it in flight too.

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There were lots of Mallards (20) and a Moorhen.

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Quite a satisfactory morning.

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6th March 2017 – Eastville Park

A brief walk around the lake in Eastville Park this afternoon. The Mallards are quite interesting at the moment as they change their plumage. A Grey Wagtail (ISO 20,000!) fishing up the stream that flows in to the River Frome in Eastville Park. A failed effort from the Grey Heron. Desperate for a photo I took a photo of a Blackbird but missed lots of opportunities of a Long-tailed Tit building a nest near the allotments.

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Plenty of celandine showing spring is on its way.

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5th March 2017 – Chew Valley Lake

A wet and windy morning at Chew Valley Lake. We had drunk our flask of coffee at our first stop and then took refuge in Stratford Hide to get out of the wind. The water in the lake is now very high so there was no sign of the Jack Snipe I had seen on my last visit.  Good to meet Lee Gardiner (Lee @Wildwood_photos) who pointed out the Common Gull to us.

2 Great-blacked Gull stole the show. There were also Black-headed Gull, Shoveler, Shelduck, Teal, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Coot and a Lapwing.

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Great black-backed Gull
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Female Tufted Duck
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Black-headed Gull and Teal
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Shoveler
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Great Crested Grebe
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Lapwing